The Minds of Climate Change Pundits

Guest post by John Bell

There is something that troubles me in the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (CAGW) debate that I would like to bring to light and solicit remarks from others in helping me understand it. I used to believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) when I first heard about it decades ago because it seemed plausible, but as I read articles skeptical of it I saw how I had been fooled. Being a skeptic I must dig in and get both sides of a controversial subject and then decide for myself. I’m a mechanical engineer and I understand physics and chemistry and energy a bit better than the average bear.

I compare the CAGW community to mainstream organized religion, in particular the Catholic church and its hierarchy, like a pyramid with the pope at the peak and below are bishops and then priests and then on the bottom are the laity. Obviously the pope of it is Al Gore, and below him are such names as Mann and McKibben and below them are priests (bloggers and pundits). On the bottom are many average citizens who are not active participants in the debate but if asked if they at least believe in AGW they respond yes, simply because the media bombard them with it daily, however they do not act on it beyond lip service and recycling because what can one do?

It is one thing for Al Gore, as wealthy as he is, to tell others to sacrifice and use less energy (i.e. to cause less CO2 output) and then himself use 37 times the amount of energy that the average American uses. Here I am not talking about Gore, but rather those many people farther down the pyramid, at the priest level, who collectively add up to far more than Gore. How can they daily beat the CAGW drum and then live the typical American (high CO2) lifestyle? That would cause massive cognitive dissonance with me.

A few years ago I was listening to a popular radio show, “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross on NPR, and she was interviewing a pro-AGW scientist whose name escapes me. I think he traveled around the USA on a university speaking tour, getting the word out about AGW, and when Terry gently reminded him that he was producing lots of CO2 by traveling on jetliners, he quickly countered “…ah, but I’m doing good work.” That revealed to me an elitist mindset; that it is okay to do what one is telling others not to do in order to spread the pearls of wisdom to the ignorant masses.

Taking that notion, I want to make an analogy. Imagine a scenario of miners who are trapped underground after a cave in, with apparently limited air supply. One miner begins to tell the others that they should remain calm and sit down and relax and conserve oxygen until help arrives, and then other miners who agree also go around telling everyone the same and soon every miner is running around frantically telling everyone else to sit down and relax but no one will do what they are telling others to do because they think it is doing good work. Later, after rescue they are told that the mine is so big that there was no danger of oxygen depletion anyway. What if everyone were to fly around on jets and preach to everyone else not to fly on jets? One could not even email others and tell them not to use their computers because it takes coal to make the electricity. It puts believers in a wildly bizarre dilemma, so how can they justify it? I would say  compartmentalized thinking.

I used to go camping on my friend’s hilltop property near Mt. Vernon, Ohio. Near there are Amish farms and I stopped at their roadside stands to buy their baked goods. I am agnostic so I do not agree with them on a theological level, but I have great respect for them because from what I can tell, their life style is consistent with their beliefs. They do not merely talk the talk, they walk the walk, and it is not an easy walk. They are not warmists; but for theological reasons they forego modern luxuries.

The CAGW faithful talk it but do not walk it (except Ed Begley jr.), and I really notice it at the priestly level, mainly from pundits and bloggers. They should give up modern luxuries because of their belief in CAGW. I never expect a politician to practice what he preaches, but I would think that if all these AGW advocates really believe in their cause they would all band together live much like the Amish, not for theological reasons, but simply to avoid being flaming hypocrites. And if the oceans rise up to smite us skeptics, then the warmists, from their sea-walled enclaves can say, “We told you it would happen, so don’t blame us because we have lived like the Amish for 88 years!” (2100 – 2012 = 88) I use the year 2100 based on all their “by the end of the century” predictions.

The CAGW debate should be a purely scientific debate, but too often it is a political debate. Certain groups in American partisan politics are automatically supporters of climate change because for them it is politically correct to promote the CAGW meme. I fancy myself a skeptic, and within the skeptical movement is the famous Professor Robert Todd Carroll, of California who authors “The Skeptics Dictionary” (www.skepdic.com). I really admire this man, I have learned a lot reading his web site. However, he is pro-AGW, seemingly because of his politics.  I have no problem with this, but here is a stellar example of someone who is 99% skeptic, yet puts political fashion above evidence. Here I am, the student, observing my mentor doing what he taught me NOT to do, but I respect him so much that I do not want to call him out on it. In my view, a true skeptic should doubt the CAGW meme.

From the McKibbens down to the warmist bloggers, I would love to follow any of them around for a day and remind them not to use any carbon-based energy, lest they be elitist and hypocritical. Don’t you dare heat your house in the winter, or use an air conditioner or drive a car, or cook on the stove or use your computer, because that would make you look like a “denier” as they call my kind. If I were a warmist I would not be caught dead in a car or an airplane. I would set a golden example and walk or ride a bicycle or use a paddle boat. No phone, no lights, no motorcar, not a single luxury!

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14 Responses to The Minds of Climate Change Pundits

  1. John Robertson says:

    What you would expect logic, ethics and consistency from secular anti-humanists?
    This religion, whose core belief seems to be the fear that there are too many people on the planet and we are going too consume all earths resources.
    Humans are earths cancer?
    The believers are just that, zealots with respect to how you and I shall live(Or not).
    Yet convinced they are too good to practise what they profess.
    Secular humanists, atheists and the religions of God/Gods all acknowledge mans ignorance and the beauty of what exists, call it everything, call it Gods creation, words do not matter here, what is ;is.
    We strive to know, each answer unveils a multitude of new question, theology and science are not as separate as we might think. Neither will provide certainty each requires us to become comfortable with the knowledge we are ignorant and will remain ignorant.
    If fear and self loathing are the core of a belief system, I would expect its values to be a little wonky, lacking humility, grace and self depreciation .
    These are humourless people who have the true answer.
    Symptoms are all there, certainty in the face of clear conflicting evidence, lashing out at any messengers of doubt, a visceral hatred of mankind in general, self loathing , absolute certainty that they can run your life, better than you could, an aversion to mirrors.Inquiry is greeted with rage.
    The words the IPCC team can not speak,” We do not know.”
    All pretence of science or a scientific base to this belief of apocalyptic doom because of civilization have evaporated, but they soldier on.Indulging themselves in cult quality circular logic.
    So its war. Undeclared but war, we fat, lazy and comfortable believers in the accomplishments of man, science and reason, have been attacked by an irrational foe bent on our destruction.
    Human nature rules I guess, mass insanity comes in cycles and every generation either keeps a lid on it through vigilance or pays the price of putting out the flames of unreason.

    Insidious tactic, to turn every institution of society against the citizens.

  2. catweazle666 says:

    Original sin….

  3. Hu Bris says:

    “The production of carbon dioxide” is the all-round super-duper bestest “original Sin”/control-mechanism that anyone could ever have invented, anywhere at any time . . EVAR!!

    The Catholic Church’s “impure thoughts” only comes a distant second in comparison.

    With the latter at least one can occasionally get some respite from contemplating “impure thoughts” and therefore return to a “state of purity”, however fleeting and temporary.

    With the former you are doomed entirely since it’s impossible to not partake in production of this highly-toxic . . nay . . Planet-Destroying!!! . . trace-gas every single second of every single minute of every single day – even when yer asleep fer gawd’s sake!!

    And just like the CC of yore one can even buy “indulgences” in advance to help cancel out the effect of your future sins.

    How’s that for the perfect con?

    Brilliant.

    Abso-F-ing-lutely bloody brilliant!

    Wish I’d have thought of it.

  4. In fairness to McKibben, he appears to have fathered only one child due to his climate concerns. See here: http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2010/10/13/david-suzukis-five-kids/

  5. John F. Hultquist says:

    Except for the “indulgences” of the Church and the carbon credits, I dislike your analogy. The Pope is elected. Al Gore is a shill. Others have made him rich and encouraged him to be the public face of the scam. Reading your text, I guess that you have not yet uncovered the true scope of this crime. Keep reading.

    • Verity Jones says:

      @all
      Each of us has to (or has had to) start somewhere in collecting and organising our thoughts on this subject. The path from belief to skepticism can be quite short, but the road travelled after ‘conversion’ is very long. For many of us it begins with reading and understanding, but after a while there is a desire to share the frustrations and what we have come to understand. Zeal is replaced by moderation as understanding increases.

      • John F. Hultquist says:

        Sorry. I did not intend to do harm but my comment was a bit abrupt. As I read John Bell’s essay I thought of another set of remarks about the who and what of AGW. Here is a line from it:

        “Socialist Maurice Strong is the man behind curtains ”
        from:
        UN Infects Science with Cancer of Global Warming by Edward F Blick

        http://icecap.us/images/uploads/EDBLICKRANT.pdf

  6. gallopingcamel says:

    Al Gore and Prince Charles want us to reduce our carbon footprints while they each have multiple houses and a fondness for traveling in grand style. Prince Charles’ primary residence is Grosvenor House with 56,000 heated square feet. It does not bother me that these men are wealthy but I am offended when they pompously scold the public about fossil fuel consumption. Hypocrites!

    If any of the CAGW “leaders” behaved like Mahatma Ghandi I might take them more seriously. Ghandi prepared salt from sea water and made home spun garmets.

  7. George M says:

    I’d like to put in a plug for believing in God, not prophets, soothsayers, priests, doomdayers, or atheists. Human kind consists of many imperfect biological machines. We are fairly smart and have learned to do many things, including the possibility of obliterating ourselves. Belief in a good, omnipotent, ever merciful, all-knowing God that created us provides a good reason for good behavior,

    I think we would have invented God, if God didn’t already exist, and civilization simply to control the young men and young women who, if left unchecked would destroy the whole good thing we have going. Belief in God also puts some check on the oldsters who would use their persuasion over the younger generation to do their bidding and build up their power, hoping to gain control of everything.

    God, as maker of the universe, encompasses it. Since we can never understand or encompass God we can only hope to ponder and draw the correct conclusion that we should at least attempt to emulate God’s goodness and mercy and accept that God is a mystery that we cannot understand.

    Science gives us the tools to study the universe. Scientists and others who study the universe have to understand that it is very unlikely that we will ever understand it fully. They must always be skeptical of any hypothesis, theory, or explanation.

    I’ll conclude with a great skeptic’s reason for believing in God. ” I believe in God because if God exists and I believe I will be rewarded when I die. If God does not exist when I die I will be gone. What I believed does not matter.

    If I willfully don’t believe in God and he exists I can only hope God’s mercy is as great as some say and I won’t go to Hell, but get some chance to repent. If God does not exist I will be gone. What I believed will not matter. So I choose to believe.”

    P’raps thoughts like this might encourage the Catastrphic AGW crowd to behave a little better.

    • Verity Jones says:

      Despite my science background, I’ve found I can’t NOT believe in God, but I do chose not to try to understand why. There are things that science can’t yet explain, such as what came before the big bang, and I’ve seen and experienced things I cannot explain, as have others I trust. My upbringing was a very moral one, if not especially religious, with a very strong emphasis on consideration for others. That has stayed with me.

      Many of the CAGW believers also profess to be Christian – for example Bill McKibben.

  8. michael hart says:

    I don’t accord Al Gore any particular status in this psychosis. He may be the most prominent political hypocrite, but many of us have our self-contradictions.

    Original sin seems equally as ingrained in Environmentalism as it is in Catholicism, especially amongst the fairly-comfortable. Coupled with the simple desire to “do-something” good, this allows people to be led, as religions and political movements have always done.

    Today, Science is high-jacked to lend a veneer of authority to what is essentially a religion of pessimism. I studied in fields of Chemistry and Biology with a view to improve human life by trying to create new treatments for Cancer and Multiple Sclerosis, for example. Small steps, because it’s difficult. It’s hard.

    I have a low opinion of people who take their “science” and invent new problems, telling humans what they should and should not be doing. That is too easy. Much too easy.

    [Reply - couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks, Verity]

  9. John Robertson says:

    Had a real sick insight into the strange hypocrisy of the eco-wannabees.
    They appear, by their actions, to be out to exterminate the worlds poor who are predominately brown.
    Is it possible that what we see, is the behaviour of children raised in an environment saturated with white liberal guilt?
    After all children reject their parents values, to grow, and what I see , in these vaguely vogue saviours is a deep hatred for poor brown people, and a confusion of cause.

    Atheist says everything exists. Religion says God created everything.
    I can’t see a difference. My knowledge is inversely proportional to some power of what I recognize I do not know.( 1/x to infinity?) But I have noticed the lack of humility in people who cannot say”I Don’t Know”.

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